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Grasping the Graston Technique

Graston Technique and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM)

Clients often ask about the Graston Technique when what they are really referring to is the less commonly used name, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). Graston as well as IASTM is gaining popularity not only with patients, but as well with practitioners due to its effectiveness and efficiency as well as minimizing stress on the hands and fingers.

Graston technique on shoulder
Graston technique on shoulder

Promote Healing

The Graston Technique is a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that was actually developed by an athlete who was frustrated by the lack of rehabilitation progress after a knee injury. Graston as well as other forms of IASTM are similar in a way to massage as they are both forms of soft-tissue mobilization, and therefore they allow the practitioner to perform muscle work to promote healing. Although practitioners do not necessarily have to be authorized to perform IASTM, only clinicians who have been trained and accredited in the Graston Technique are qualified to obtain the Graston Technique instruments and apply the technique to treat patients.

Graston instrument kit
Graston instrument kit

With that said, there are other IASTM tools or instruments to locate and treat soft tissue dysfunction. Soft-tissue practitioners, by using their hands or handheld tools, can help modulate pain signals to the brain to make movements easier to complete. As well, the small microtrauma that is caused during these treatments facilitates a cascade of healing activities to allow for improved tissue healing.

The Edge Tool
The Edge Tool
Jade for IASTM
Jade for IASTM

What is soft tissue and how does it heal?

Soft tissue refers to muscles, tendons (the part of the muscle that attaches to a bone), and ligaments (structures that connect one bone to another to keep a joint stable). When a tissue is injured, whether its muscle, tendon or ligament, our body attempts to heal itself by laying down new tissue over the injury site. This new tissue, also known as scar tissue, is not as strong or as flexible as normal, healthy, undamaged tissue. Over time, and because of small re-injuries, there is a build-up of this fibrous tissue that causes restricted movement, pain, soreness, and reduced flexibility.

Scar tissue forms to heal injuries
Scar tissue forms to heal injuries

So whether you choose someone qualified to perform Graston or other forms of IASTM, it may be an effective addition to your treatment plan.

Do you have muscle pain or a previous nagging injury? Would you consider trying IASTM to minimize the pain and improve mobility?

Jason Bellefleur
Jason Bellefleur is a multi-award-winning physiotherapist. Most recently, he was recognized as a 2016 Ottawa Forty Under 40 recipient and received numerous awards from the Orléans Chamber of Commerce (the 2011 Young Business Person of the Year, the 2012 Healthcare Professional of the Year and the 2014 Business Person of the Year awards). Jason is proud to be an Orléans resident and to raise his family in a bilingual community. He enthusiastically promotes local business within the Orléans area and frequently supports and participates in local events. Jason was recognized for his community involvement by receiving the Orleans 150 Community Builder award in 2017 by Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde. Jason firmly believes in high-quality one-on-one physiotherapy interventions. His treatment approach emphasizes hands-on intervention, continued client education, and active involvement by the individual to help them reach their full potential. By opening a clinic that offers 'Higher Standards of Care,' Jason wants his patients to feel confident that they receive the highest level of patient care available. As a result, he is also preventing injury and helping to improve their health and well-being.

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